John 10:11—“I am the good shepherd”
David was a shepherd. He kept his father Jesse’s flock. When David spoke with King Saul, he said that in order to protect the flock placed in his care; he had defeated a bear and a lion with his bare hands.1 Samuel 17:34-36. David knew the reality that either of these animals could have killed him, but he was willing to even lay down his life to defend the sheep against the attack of the enemy. Psalm 23
In verses 7,9 of John 10, Jesus says that he is the door. He is the only way to salvation, everlasting life, and a right relationship with God. Now he is saying that after the sheep enter the sheepfold by “the door”, he is the good shepherd who is willing to do all that is necessary to meet the needs of the sheep.
Jesus not only promises to care for his sheep, but says that he is willing to give his life for the sheep. When the enemy comes, he would still remain to protect them. “To give his life”, here, means that he would never run, never hide, and never cower away from any danger that might be faced by the sheep. His life is lived with the purpose of care for the sheep. The shepherd surrenders any purpose that is focused on self. His heart’s desire is focused on the sheep.
The Bible speaks about hirelings. Hirelings had no real interest in the sheep. It was a job and very little more. When danger arose, they ran and left the sheep to the enemy. Their concern was for their own safety, and the sheep would be surrendered to the enemy. John 10:12,13. Our Saviour is not a hireling. He is the good shepherd, the great shepherd. The hireling had no personal knowledge of the sheep. The good shepherd knows his sheep perfectly, even calling them by name. John 10:3
Sheep tend to go their own way. They also tend to “get in line” and follow the leader as the flock move. Sheep have no discernment as to direction or the end result; just keep eyes on the one in front. In the Western world, sheep are placed in a field and throughout the day the shepherd checks in on them. There are many times when the sheep have no shepherd present. The shepherd does not know what is happening with the sheep, or even if the sheep are where he left them. The sheep are alone to fend for themselves 1 Kings 8:57, Hebrews 13:5. When the Word of God was written, shepherds did not leave their flock unattended. They were ever watchful and attendant to the sheep. At night, the shepherd did not rest or sleep separate from his sheep. Because the shepherd became tired, he had to sleep and did so in the opening to the sheepfold. Scripture says that our great shepherd never slumbers nor sleeps—Psalm 121:1-4. He is ever watchful and an ever present help in time of trouble.
Isaiah 40:11, Micah 5:4, John 10:14, Ephesians 5:2, Hebrews 13:20, 1 Peter 2:25, 1 Peter 5:4,
Everyone likes to see Jesus as being the caring shepherd and the picture often seen is of him holding a wee lamb. He is the caring shepherd, but there is more to caring than just carrying. Next week will be part “2” of Jesus being the good shepherd.